Increase your sales effectiveness with quality collateral

Author: Stewart Clark / Date: February 28, 2017

Category: Business Performance

Selling is about showing your customer in a convincing way, that your product (or service) is worth the value you are asking and….. that it meets their need or desire. Naturally, this point is not rocket science, albeit the way in which you show them or prove up the value of your product can have many layers of skill to it.

Over many years of working in a sales environment, we have noted that the vast majority of customers are visual in the way in which they assess the value of a product. What this means is that when you only explain the value of a product, customers only have what they hear to work with. By increasing the spectrum of information provided to your customer to both audible and visual – you have the ability to increase your sales effectiveness by providing a deeper value description of your product. For those with a physical product, providing a sample to touch and feel, taste or smell has a similar impact.

For the purposes of this note – we will restrict ourselves to the visual spectrum, by providing an appropriately designed piece of sales collateral.

You will already be familiar with many pieces of sales collateral, although you may know them better as sales brochures. They are designed to provide compelling information about the product and aid in the sales process. These items – in the right-hand’s – are incredibly effective, so to gain the greatest value from your collateral – consider the following;

  • An element of sales collateral can be used for marketing, but…..the function of marketing is different to that of selling. Marketing is primarily to attract interest by displaying features, where as selling – is to close the sale by showing alignment (to need) and value. Ensure you use the right type of collateral item for your need.
  • Align your language to your target market. If you are selling to the 60+ demographic, then your language would be very different to that which you would use for a group of teenagers. Consider also things like; jargon, slang and abbreviations. Make sure your collateral message is clear for its intended market.
  • It is important that the collateral you use explains your product or service. This would include its features, its benefits and the problem that it is solving for the purchaser. For those with multiple product options, is is becoming common is to show a cascade with the progressive increase of features which align to the purchasers needs.
  • Graphs, tables, appropriate use of colour – all of these aid with a quick visual understanding of the value of your product or service. Graphs can show performance levels and convey more complex material to the reader in a fraction of time.
  • A good collateral document will also permit a level of customisation or user interaction. This means that the document can be marked, ticked, crossed, filled out or otherwise amended directly with a potential purchaser – so that the document takes on yet another level of value because it is now being personalised for them.
  • In a world where margins are important, collateral documents should be highly versatile to justify print production costs. Some collateral items may of course be housed in an electronic format, however we typically find that the tactile nature of a physical document is still incredibly valuable. Due to the evolutionary nature of these types of documents, it is also often better to print a smaller number (albeit at a marginally higher unit cost) than to have thousands of old brochures which are quickly obsolete.
  • As with any piece of business material, the collateral document should be appropriately branded with your business logo and relevant contact details. In many ways, this document will become your oversized business card.
  • Pay particular attention to the layout and presentation of your document.
    • Its layout should compliment your sales process. If your process is one of; a diagnostic, followed by a question and answer, followed by the presentation of your product – then your collateral tool should follow this process. If you find that your sales approach is more one of; information delivery up front and then customisation by distilling down to the clients needs, then it should follow this process.
    • The presentation of the document should align to the quality level of your product or service. If you are providing a high-quality, high-value customised product – then your collateral document should reflect this. It should be professionally designed and printed on appropriate weight paper or card stock. If your product is at a lower quality point, then you do have the ability to reduce the production style and quality of your item.
  • As well as providing information, your collateral document can also provide an element of proof or validation to the purchaser. Items such as testimonials, product tests, market data etc can all assist in proving up the credibility and value of your product.

Of course, the effectiveness of any collateral item will ultimately come down to how well it is used.

A highly valuable collateral document which has been well designed and produced – which sits in the bottom drawer, will yield zero value. A lesser quality document – which is used with every sales prospect, is customised and well understood by the sales operative, will yield significantly more value. With the collateral document produced, your sales team should be well schooled on the most effective way of using it so that it becomes a value add to your sales process – rather than a mere expense to the business.

By being able to provide both a visual and audible explanation of your product and its value, you will increase your effectiveness.

To discuss the best sales collateral for your businesscontact us today to arrange for a preliminary consultation.